What is the history of Petree Nursery & Greenhouses?
Back in the ‘80s, Mike had been working in Oklahoma growing indoor plants at a small greenhouse. Ready for a change, he moved to Taos, N.M. At one point, someone asked Mike if he could move a tree for them, which he was able to do. One thing led to another and he was back in the growing business. Not long afterwards he wound up building 10 greenhouses, which became the heart of our retail business. The company has been steady and long running – we are the oldest and largest garden center in Taos.
What range of plants do you sell?
Our elevation here is about 7,500 feet so we grow and sell plants that will thrive at this elevation. That’s a bigger list than you might think – we sell hanging baskets, annuals perennials, vegetables, fruit trees, vines, herbs, trees and shrubs, soil amendments, and other planting accessories. We’re particularly proud of our perennials, which we grow in our greenhouses. We offer a unique selection that our customers really enjoy and that helps reduce water use in their landscapes.
What challenges have you faced this year?
Availability for some of our plants has been one of our biggest challenges – we’ve had to buy as far away as Canada and all points in between. Finding good labor seems like it’s an every year obstacle for us but the staff we have is a good one, very dedicated and knowledgeable. Freight costs have gone through the roof – it’s the most expensive we’ve ever seen. We’ve heard that part of this problem is because of a driver shortage.
Do you have any significant issues with pests or diseases?
We’re very fortunate that our greenhouses are largely free of these problems. When we do need to control bugs, our first line of defense is using beneficials like lacewings. They have worked well for us and our customers like to hear that we use them. They are tuned into the chemicals that our industry uses and when they learn about our biological control approach, they appreciate that. It’s not that we never use chemicals, but only on an as-needed, very limited basis.
What drives you to stay in this business?
First, we love what we do. Secondly, Mike and I have finally found that sweet spot where we’re very content with how the company is doing – we are not looking to change much. We truly love growing plants that people appreciate and want to add to their landscapes and living spaces. We are often thanked by our customers for doing what we do – that certainly keeps smiles on our faces and gives us great satisfaction.
What do you like most about being a CNGA member?
I think our favorite part is the education. We’ve been going to ProGreen EXPO for many years and that’s how we learned about CNGA. Our staff gets a lot out of the classes and sessions. We’re grateful to CNGA for the role they play in putting together a great educational program each year. We also appreciate that CNGA has our back by writing the governor and legislators when they try to pass legislation that affects us and the nursery industry.